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Stocks finish strong; Dow touches 11,000

By Alexandra Twin, CNNMoney.com senior writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Stocks gained Friday, with the Dow briefly topping 11,000 and the broad market ending higher for the seventh of eight weeks, as economic optimism trumped concerns about Greek debt.

The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) added 70 points, or 0.6%, closing at 10,997. The Dow got as high as 11,000 in the final 10 minutes of trading but ended the session just short of that. Still, it was the highest close for the Dow since Sept. 26, 2008, when it finished at 11,143.13.

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The S&P 500 index (SPX) gained 8 points, or 0.7%, closing at an 18-month high. The Nasdaq composite (COMP) gained 17 points, or 0.7%, ending at the highest point since June of 2008.

Stocks drifted higher through the session as investors weighed competing influences at the end of a choppy week on Wall Street.

Stocks gained Thursday as upbeat sales reports from the nation's retailers helped provide optimism about the economic outlook, taking the edge off worries about Greece and other euro-zone debt issues.

Greece's borrowing costs eased a bit after hitting a record high Thursday on worries about its ballooning deficit. Talk of a bailout as soon as this weekend circulated Friday. On the downside, ratings agency Fitch cut its outlook on Greece's debt.

Worries that Greece's default could usher in a bigger European debt crisis have popped up repeatedly this year. But the concerns have been tempered in recent weeks as investors have focused on signs that the economic recovery is picking up strength, despite ongoing weakness in the labor and housing markets.

The Dow, Nasdaq and S&P 500 have all risen in seven of eight weeks.

Among stock movers Friday, strength in energy shares gave a lift to the broad market, but it was tempered by weakness in financials. Chevron (CVX, Fortune 500), Exxon Mobil (XOM, Fortune 500), Coca-Cola (KO, Fortune 500) and Walt Disney (DIS, Fortune 500) drove Dow gains. Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500), Yahoo (YHOO, Fortune 500) and Intel (INTC, Fortune 500) were among the Nasdaq's big movers.

Economy: Wholesale inventories rose 0.6% in February after climbing 0.1% in January, the Census Bureau reported Friday. Inventories were expected to rise 0.4% ,according to economists surveyed by Briefing.com.

World markets: In overseas trading, European markets rallied in the afternoon, with London's FTSE up 1%, France's CAC-40 up 1.5% and Germany's DAX up 1.2%. Asian markets ended higher.

Bonds: Treasury prices rose, lowering the yield on the 10-year note to 3.89% from 3.90% late Thursday. The 10-year had risen as high as 4% Monday, an 18-month high. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

The dollar and commodities: The dollar fell versus the euro and the yen.

COMEX gold for June delivery rose $9 to settle at $1,161.90 per ounce.

U.S. light crude oil for May delivery settled down 47 cents to $84.92 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Market breadth was mixed. On the New York Stock Exchange, winners beat losers two to one on volume of 971 million shares. On the Nasdaq, advancers edged decliners by seven to six on volume of 2.12 billion shares. To top of page

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Index Last Change % Change
Dow 24,651.74 143.08 0.58%
Nasdaq 6,936.58 80.06 1.17%
S&P 500 2,675.81 23.80 0.90%
Treasuries 2.36 0.01 0.38%
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Bank of America Corp... 29.04 0.31 1.08%
General Electric Co 17.82 0.18 1.02%
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Microsoft Corp 86.85 2.16 2.55%
Data as of Dec 15


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